Is there enough kindness out there? – with Kindness author Gill Hasson

Is there enough kindness out there? – with Kindness author Gill Hasson

by Suswati Basu

February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness day. It celebrates kindness and the whole pay it forward mentality.

John Stuart Mill in 1867 said: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” But are we showing enough of it right now?

Thanks to the following guests for participating:

Gill Hasson, teacher, trainer, and author of Kindness: Change Your Life and Make the World a Kinder Place. Here is the full interview:

Scott Leiper, chairman of the Learning Lab and Imaginocity

Life coach Shirley Walker from the Seasoned Coach

Alex Killick, director of Leading Kind

Timothy Barlow founder of Copias Talent Management

The ‘fearless muse’, healing singer and speaker BBFenix

Here are some of the resources from the show:

Creator of 52 Lives, Jaime Thurston speaks to We Make Success Happen in 2019:

Dr David R. Hamilton speaks at a TED Talk in 2012:

Books looked at this week:

Gill Hasson: Kindness: Change Your Life and Make the World a Kinder Place

Jaime Thurston: Kindness: The Little Thing that Matters Most

Dr David R. Hamilton: The Five Side-effects of Kindness: This Book Will Make You Feel Better, Be Happier & Live Longer

PS. I do not receive commission for reviewing books and talks.


Exploring how we can master ourselves by looking at how experts say it is possible with your host Suswati Basu.

Intro music

Welcome to the twelfth episode of How To Be…with me Suswati as your timid presenter, guiding you through life’s tricky skills by taking this learning journey with you.

February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness day. It is celebrated by individuals, groups and organizations nationwide to encourage acts of kindness. Even the smallest act of kindness can change a life especially now.

So is there enough kindness out there right now?

Apparently there are amazing people thinking about the concept of kindness regularly such as Scott Leiper is the chairman of The Learning Lab and creator of Imaginocity.


Our first book comes from Gill Hasson (pronounced Jill), Kindness: Change your life and make the world a kinder place. Hasson is teacher, trainer, and a prolific writer having written more than 20 books in the last 12 years, and she truly was kind enough to speak with me this week. Here she is speaking about the subject, and find the full interview on


Hasson says kindness comes from a position of goodwill. It’s when you make a situation easier for someone, assist or lift their spirits.

There are limits, though. Establishing and maintaining limits is not about turning your kindness off – it’s knowing that you don’t have to feel obliged and totally responsible, and also means not making their situation your own.

Being kind to others however encourages you to be kind to yourself! Empathy involves, if not understanding, at least trying to understand, how and what someone else – a real person, a fictional character or an animal – might be experiencing, thinking or feeling.

And she says sometimes the simplest kindness you can give another human being is to acknowledge them. As Beyoncé sings “Listen”.

Express appreciation to others. Compliments and praise should also be extended to someone who has achieved or overcome something.

Replace your assumptions and judgments with kindness. Patience can help you accept that people and situations develop at their own speed.

Forgiving someone isn’t letting them off, it’s simply letting go.

And now to yourself, Hasson says it’s important that you treat yourself kindly through all the ups and downs in your life; like a lifelong friend.

Self-respect means believing that you are good and worthy of being treated well. We’ve all got weaknesses and imperfections. Learn to accept that

Instead of comparing yourself to others, see them as role models and compare yourself to yourself. Basically kindness is both internal and external.

Our second book gives us 52 tips for every week. Written by Jaime Thurston, founder of kindness charity 52 Lives, the books gives quick snippets on how to make a difference. Here she is speaking to We Make Success Happen about how it all started.


Here’s some of the tips from the book.

Unexpected kindness is a powerful thing.

With just a few kind words, you can change

someone’s entire day. And just like hatred breeds hatred, kindness also breeds kindness.

Sometimes what people need is assistance rather than things. Spread some kindness by donating a skill.

There’s no such thing as a small act of kindness – even the tiniest gesture like a smile has a ripple effect.

When someone is struggling, knowing there are people out there who care can change everything.

Altruism fosters a sense of connection. When we give something to someone, they feel closer to us, and we also feel closer to them.

Saying sorry does more than simply remedy a past mistake – it builds a connection by showing vulnerability and honesty.

Be strong for those who can’t be, and be a voice for those who need it.

Sharing good news spreads positivity, changes attitudes and ultimately leads to more people feeling encouraged and happy.

True happiness comes when we focus less on external things and more on our own hearts and minds.

Self-love is not selfish.

When you hug someone, make it count.

Happiness is not finite. Someone else’s good fortune doesn’t take away your own potential for happiness.

None of us know what is going on in someone’s life. If someone is behaving in a way you don’t like, try to be understanding.

Show the people in your life that you appreciate what they do.

By having patience and being courteous to people, for even one minute a day, you can make a positive difference.

When we have too much to do, it leaves little room for us to think about other people.

Being grateful helps us feel happier, less envious, less attached to material things and much more open to being kind to those around us.

Time can be a difficult thing for us to give, which is why it’s such a generous way of being kind.

And our final book looks at the science behind kindness and why it’s so important. Dr David R. Hamilton’s book: The Five Side-effects of Kindness: This Book Will Make You Feel Better, Be Happier & Live Longer.

Here he is at a TED talk in 2012.


Dr Hamilton says some research suggests that kindness actually creates physical changes in the brain, both on the left-hand side of the prefrontal cortex, which is often thought of as the seat of positivity and compassion, and in a region known as the insula, which is considered to be the empathy centre.

Another study followed the relatives of people with Alzheimer’s, led by psychologist Jo-Ann Tsang of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Half wrote down what they felt grateful for each day in a ‘gratitude journal’ and half made a list of their daily hardships. At the end of the study, those who wrote in gratitude journals reported greater overall wellbeing and also less stress and depression.

Kindness uplifts us. Whether we witness it, receive it or show it, it produces a feeling of elevation. This feeling causes the release of oxytocin, which is a molecule of kindness, in our body. This, in turn, triggers the release of nitric oxide and ANP. The result is the dilation of our arteries and a reduction in blood pressure.

Nitric oxide also helps protect against the formation of the plaques that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

In one simple study, scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill compared the number of hugs a group of 59 women received over a period of a month. Then they measured each woman’s levels of oxytocin. What was the result? The women who had the most hugs also had the most oxytocin. They also had the lowest blood pressure and heart rates.

In a study led by Emily Ansell of Yale University School of Medicine, 77 volunteers received an automated phone call to their smartphones every evening for two weeks prompting them to fill out an online daily assessment. Ansell found that those who reported more acts of kindness experienced less negative emotion and less stress.

So to sum up:

Hasson’s book on kindness recommends to Develop your empathy

Go out of your way to make a difference, be generous, support others, show appreciation

Replace judgement with kindness and be patient

Accept and respect yourself

Acknowledge your strengths and achievements

Express gratitude

And in the end she suggests before you go to bed each night, identify three good things that

have happened during the day.

Thurston says:

Rise above toxicity and choose positivity

Your silence is kindness. Listen.

Kindness breeds kindness.

Hug with heart. At least eight hugs a day.

Give people your time.

Whilst Dr Hamilton says

Kindness is Viagra for our arteries.

And kindness can help relieve depression. It can boost self-esteem. It can reduce social anxiety.

Kindness physically changes the brain. It produces serotonin, which is exactly what some antidepressants seek to boost.

And he leaves us with a 7-day challenge, to perform at least one act of kindness a day with the intention to make people smile, to lift spirits – to make a difference. Some ground rules include it must be something different each day, you must push yourself outside your comfort zone at least once, and at least one of your acts of kindness must be anonymous.

John Stuart Mill in 1867 said: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” So I’m planning to do something for the next seven days. It doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

Before we end, meet life coach Shirley Walker, Alex Killick director of Leading Kind, Timothy Barlow founder of Copias Talent Management, and The Fearless Muse’, Healing Singer and Speaker.

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